No. 24.
Mr. Davis to Mr. Delfosse.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 24th instant, in which, referring to a communication from the Department of Justice to this Department, which had found its way into the public newspapers, you express the opinion that it would render almost certain the refusal of this Government to accord the extradition of Carl Vogt, or Stupp, to the German government, and you accordingly renew the request formerly made, that Vogt may be delivered up to Belgium as an act of comity.

In the personal interview which I had with you on this subject, simultaneously with the reception of your note, I was able to inform you that this Government had already at that time taken into consideration whether in the absence of a treaty with Belgium the laws of the United States would permit the surrender of this criminal to your government. I informed you at the same time that while the United States do not admit an obligation under the principles of international law, which are recognized by governments, to surrender from within their jurisdiction and the protection of their laws a person accused of crime, in order that he might be tried by a different system of laws and jurisprudence, yet that, under the circumstances of this case, the Secretary of State had felt disposed to examine into the power to surrender Vogt to your government as an act of comity.

The result of that examination has, to say the least, raised grave doubts as to the power of the President to do so. The authority of the Executive to abridge personal liberty within the jurisdiction of the United States, and to surrender a fugitive from justice in order that he may be taken away from their jurisdiction, is derived from the statutes of Congress, which confer that power only in cases where the United States are bound by treaty to surrender such fugitives, and have a reciprocal right to claim similar surrender from another power. I am, therefore, constrained to decline to comply with your request for the surrender of Carl Vogt.

I deem it proper to add, with reference to your remarks upon the opinion of the Attorney-General, that correspondence of this nature is regarded as domestic and confidential, and is not esteemed to be a proper subject of criticism or comment on the part of the representatives of other powers.

Accept, &c.,

Active Secretary.